By Anash.org reporter
The effects of Covid-19 brought incredible challenges to the coordination efforts of Igud Hamelamdim’s Pesach project. Yet tireless and devoted efforts proved stronger. It’s become a tradition. Months before Pesach shopping enters anyone’s mind, melamdim are filling out shopping lists for a mass order of Pesach and year-round items.
The items, provided at a fraction of the price, is the project of a unique partnership between Igud Hamelamdim, the Lubavitch teachers’ association, and Chasdei Lev, an organization for frum teachers. While the items are provided by Chasdei Lev, it is Igud Hamelamdim that raises the funds and handles the orders for Crown Heights melamdim.
“It’s our privilege and obligation to give back to the mechanchim, the stars of our community,” Igud Hamelamdim’s director Rabbi Avrohom Bluming told Anash.org, “their devotion to our children and commitment to Chinuch is outstanding, particularly in the current crisis.” But this year, it was more challenging than ever.
As before every Pesach and Sukkos, each teacher receives $2,800 worth of high-quality essentials. For 250 teachers, that totals about $700,000. While a large portion of that is covered by Chasdei Lev’s bulk-purchasing and fundraising, Igud Hamelamdim needs to raise $200k dollars to enable all 250 teachers in the community to receive their items at a heavily subsidized price.
Special community members stepped forward to sponsor the project. Among them: Dovid and Malky Smetana, Chaim Zvi Nash, Rabbi Yitzchok and Rebbetzin Shaindel Raitport, the Becker family, Yehuda Gurwitz, Shloimy Greenwald, Sholom Laine, and Rabbi Dovid and Gittel Fisher. On top of that, local regulations banned the classic distribution which involves hosts of volunteers loading up the teachers’ cars. Instead, a nearby location was arranged for Crown Heights teachers to pick up their items. The staff at Igud Hamelamdim worked tirelessly to coordinate the project, arrange, rearrange and tweak the schedule.
The warehouse dock was set up and pick-up slots assigned. Mechanchim were recruited, and with amazing ahavas yisroel they offered to pick up orders for fellow teachers under quarantine or unable to access a vehicle. All along, safety guidelines had to be maintained, to keep everyone safe and well. An outpouring of appreciation poured in for all the efforts to make it happen this year. “We really appreciate all your hard work to make sure that we all have what we need in these difficult times,” said one teacher.
“To come home with a van loaded with Pesach goods means so much to everyone, especially in these hard times,” Rabbi Bluming shares with satisfaction. “As a community, it is a privilege to give back to our teachers for everything they do.”